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WITH EVERY SENTIMENT OF ESTEEM
BY HIS LORDSHIP's
MOST FAITHFUL AND DEVOTED
IN the history of the world there is no event more curious and important than the discovery of America, which, with its surrounding seas, forms a complete hemisphere to our planet, of which the antients certainly knew no more than 180 degrees, To the glory of an event of such magnitude, and followed by such important consequences to the interests of commerce, many nations have laid claim. The limits of a small volume will not allow us to enter into the various disquisitions which have been written on the subject, in defence of the contending parties. We have followed our own historian, and given the honour of the discovery to Christopher Columbus. And notwithstanding all that was said before the publication of Dr. Robertson's History, by Gomara and others, or since by M. Otto*, with a view of snatching the laurel from the Genoese, we are persuaded that the evidences in behalf of Columbus's claims are clear and satisface tory.
We have likewise followed the same authority in endeavouring to account for the manner by which America was originally peopledt. Of the
Şeę a letter from M. Otto to Dr. Franklin, vith a memoir on the discovery of America. American Philo. sophical Transactions, vol. II. quarto, 1786.
† See chap. üli.
ADVERTISEMENT. various other theories on this subject we judge it right to mention one in this place which is plausible and well supported. The abbé Clavigero, a pative of America, thinks that there remains no other solution to this intricate question than by supposing an ancient union between the equinoctịal countries of America with those of Africa, and a connection of the northern countries of America with Europe on the east, and with Asia on the west; so that according to this gentleman there has probably been a period since the Flood, in which there was but one continent, when the beasts of the cold climates passed over the northern isthmuses which perhaps connected Europe, America, and Asia; and the animals and reptiles peculiar to hot countries passed over the isthmus that connected South America with Atrica. For from various reasons he is induced to believe that there was formerly a tract of land uniting the easternmost part of Brazil to the westernmost part of Africa, which may have been sunk by some violent agitation of nature, leaving only a few traces of it in that chain of islands of whkh Cape de Verd, Fernandez, Ascenşion, and St. Matthew islands, make a part.
All other theories, he says, are subject to enormous difficulties; and though this be not without some, yet they are not altogether insurmountable. The most formidable is the supposition of an earthquake so violent as to submerge a tract of land niore than fifteen hundred miles in length, which according to this hypothesis united Africa and South America. It is not necessary, however, to ascribe this stupendous revolution to a single shock: it may have been effected by a succession of earth, quakes, such as was felt in Canada in 1663, which overtorned a chain of free-stone mountains un